Reflecting on Letters and Poems from the First World War
The letter of Charles Winmill.
Helping to ease the pain of separation, and providing a source of emotional well-being to those on the front, letter writing was a normal post of life in the trenches for soldiers. Often sneaking past the censors, letters offer highly personal insights into the war, and show the humanity behind every young man who put their life at risk through those fateful years.
Charles Winmill wrote a thank you letter to Elisabeth Kelly before Christmas 2015: “you good women in Almonte are the only ones that don’t forget us first bunch”. He returned to Almonte after the war to marry Mary Gilmour in 1918.
Sgt. Frank Brown was able to publish his book of poems, Contingent Ditties, before dying on action. Enlisting in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in 1914, he was part of one of the first units to travel overseas. By February 1915 , he was killed in St. Eloi, Belgium. The first reported casualty from Almonte, his death had a deep impact on the community. Through his poems, Frank’s account of the war, and his memory lives on.
What is the call, the cheering call,
That every other betters? A silver
Call, a longed-for call –The music
Call for ‘letters’
The letters and poems will be on display at the Almonte Branch until the 17th of November 2018.
This display was possible by the cooperation of the Mississippi Mills Public Library and the North Lanark Regional Museum.